ACC: Development of Biobased Polyols for Green Polyurethanes has Great Potential

Posted on 10/15/2014 11:04:38 AM By ASC

Demand for renewable polyurethanes continues to grow as interest in sustainable products grows. Natural polyols, polyester polyols and sugar are used to make polyurethane foams for automotive applications and thermoplastic polyurethanes for sporting goods, shoes, and medical devices.  Biobased polyols are a convenient, ‘drop-in’ replacement for the petrochemical-based polyurethanes currently in use. This is because renewable polyols from vegetable oils share similar structures with petroleum-based polyols and that structure determines the properties of the finished polyurethane. Polyols from carbon dioxide are also in development. These polyols and the polyurethanes they produce would have the advantage of directly reducing greenhouse gasses and using an exceptionally inexpensive source material. These are just two of the research directions in the polyurethane market, but in the coming years and decades, a wide range of sustainably sourced products will be making their way to manufacturers and consumers.